The hurdles showdown that never was

...JAAA to meet on contentious women's 100m hurdles final

Observer writer

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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The top brass of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), including the technical and selection committees, should meet early this week to decide the fate of the women's 100m hurdles final that was voided on Sunday's final session of the National Championships at the National Stadium.

The event was not held and the national governing body of the sport must arrive at a decision as to how they will select the three women to represent Jamaica at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, later this year.

The event developed into a near fiasco on Sunday night as a false start called on 2015 World champion Dannielle Williams precipitated an almost 30-minute delay during which time she was shown the red card on at least three occasions, but she refused to leave the track.

She was eventually persuaded to leave the track and a subsequent restart was called, but only two athletes, including new national record holder and world leader Janeek Brown completed the race.

The event, one of the most anticipated of the four-day championships, was then rescheduled to be run after the men's 110m hurdles final, but was later cancelled as the championships ended on an anticlimactic note and left many questions unanswered.

An announcement from stadium announcer Ed Barnes explained that at least three of the seven remaining athletes had complained of injuries and as such the JAAA had taken the decision to make the event “null and void”, forcing the meeting later this week to address the situation.

A number of fans on Sunday night had argued that Williams should be allowed to run under protest, but according to IAAF Rule 146.4 (a) this is not allowed, “Competing under protest shall not be allowed if the false start was indicated by an IAAF certified Start Information System, unless for any reason the referee determines that the information provided by the system is obviously inaccurate”.

The outstanding form of the world leader and national record holder Brown, who was representing University of Arkansas, and the proficiency of several Jamaicans in the event over the last few years, had made the event one of the most anticipated on the schedule, and thousands turned out for it on Sunday but went away disappointed.

Reports reaching the Jamaica Observer was that Williams, who had run 12.81 seconds (-1.4m/s), claimed to have “heard two noises” which prompted her quick start.

Brown, the former Wolmer's Girls' standout who set the new National record 12.40 seconds while winning the NCAA Division 1 title earlier this month, had looked in supreme form while winning her semi-final heat on Sunday in 12.68 seconds (0.5m/s).

Former world Under-18 gold medallist Yanique Thompson, Amoi Brown, Megan Tapper, Shermaine Williams, Shimayra Williams, and Jeanine Williams had also qualified for the final.

Only three women can represent Jamaica at the IAAF World Championships and so far only Brown, Danielle Williams, Thompson, and Megan Tapper have the qualifying mark of 12.98 seconds.

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